Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Infections of Ichthyophonus hoferi, a cosmopolitan parasite of marine fish, have recently been reported in rockfish, Sebastes spp., from the north-eastern Pacific. Because I. hoferi also infects Pacific herring, Clupea pallasi Valenciennes, and salmonids in this region, we wanted to determine if Ichthyophonus parasites from rockfishes, Pacific herring and chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha (Walbaum), were the same. Small subunit ribosomal deoxyribonucleic acid sequence data revealed two haplotypes that were fixed among host species in geographic sympatry, one from rockfish and the other from both Pacific herring and salmon. These isolated populations of Ichthyophonus could be part of the same species that are ecologically separated because of host behaviours, or they could be distinct species that are host specific. Dietary patterns of the hosts indicate that ecological separation among hosts is possible, but the presence of distinct species may better explain the observed Ichthyophonus haplotype association with host species.
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